Real Advice: 4 Fall Ride Essentials

As the summer draws to a close, the kinds of riding most of us do changes too. For some a long summer of training and racing has left the legs feeling fairly torched and ready for a rest with slower, leisurely rides. For others, the cooler temperatures mean that it’s now more comfortable to put in those long, big mile days in the saddle.

No matter how you ride this fall though, here are 4 things you shouldn’t leave the house without.

1. Complete Repair Kit

In most parts of the country, fall is a pretty rainy time of year. That means that there’s lots of extra stuff on the roads that can give you a flat, and rain and road grit can take a bigger toll on your chain.

While we normally eschew the seat wedge during the summer and roll with a minimal flat kit, during the fall and winter we embrace it, and stuff it with:

A full repair kit is a must for fall riding
A full repair kit is a must for fall riding


2. Lights

No matter what time it is when we leave the house for a ride, we always bring some emergency lights this time of year.

Small, lightweight LED’s are easy to affix to your bars and seatpost, or fit easily in a pocket. Having a front and rear light can help you stay visible in traffic when it gets dark, when the sky is overcast, or the weather turns bad.

Small LED lights, like these Blackburn lights, are lightweight and easy to attach
Small LED lights, like these Blackburn lights, are lightweight and easy to attach


3. Vest / Jacket

A packable wind jacket or vest will roll up small and easily fits into a jersey pocket. This is a September-April essential for us, since the weather can change quickly and you never know when you might need it.

A vest is a great option for warmer or windy days when the primary concern is keeping the core warm. They also roll up super tiny, so they take up minimal pocket room when you take them off.

Jackets are a better option for days that a very windy, have a chance of rain, or when you’ll be doing climbs that involve long descents. They are a little bulkier, but the fuller protection and wind/water-resistant fabrics will provide more complete protection against the elements.

A packable wind jacket or vest can help you be prepared for changeable weather
A packable wind jacket or vest can help you be prepared for changeable weather


4. Cash

Cards are great, but cash is still king. If you’re going for a long ride into the country, there are fewer better pit stops during a ride then stopping at a roadside produce stand for some harvest-fresh apples, cider, or other treats. Not only are they healthier than most snacks we eat on the road, but are super fresh and usually only for sale for a few short weeks.

Carrying some cash with you is ensures you'll always be ready for a pit stop
Carrying some cash with you is ensures you’ll always be ready for a pit stop


What do you carry when you ride?

Tell us in the comments.


13 thoughts on “Real Advice: 4 Fall Ride Essentials

  1. I carry 1 spare ultralight folding tire (a holdover from the tubular days but it’s bailed me out twice and another rider once), 1 tube, patch kit, Park tire boot, Park MTB3 mini tool, small cheap folding pliers, 2 tire irons, QuikStik, 4 zip ties, duct tape wrapped around a thin cardboard, 1 Fiberfix spoke (when touring I carry 5 more of these), $50 cash, pills for headaches and diarrhea, ID card with phone numbers and insurance info, key to house, spare button batteries for computer and spare AA batteries for rear tail light. A lot as that sounds it does all fit into a seat bag. I also carry a pump on the frame of course.

    1. Agreed. Park tire boot but make sure it’s fresh. They lose adhesion over time.

      Saddbags should all contain aspirin in cade a rider has a heart attack. Weight is nominal and you might save a life

      1. I always replace my glueless patches and the boot patches at the beginning of every season, but I did the same thing when I used glue on patches I had to replace the glue tube every season.

  2. Does anyone carry or can anyone recommend a small/lightweight first aid kit. A friend crashed on a ride recently and I really could have used a simple combination of a couple of wetnaps to clean his bruises, cream to disinfect them, gauze to stop the bleeding and tape to hold the gauze down, maybe some latex gloves as well. Does anyone put that in a small light package I can fit into my seat bag with all the other repair kit stuff I carry mentioned in your article above? Thanks.

    1. You can either wear a road ID or put one in your saddle bag, if you have a preexisting medical condition you should wear that information, for those of us that do not have medical issues EMT’s and or cops are trained to go through your seat bag to look for id or a cellphone with ICE information, which means it you have a cell phone your phonebook should have in capital letters ICE so they know exactly who the family members phone numbers (note the plural} are that they need to contact. I would recommend to anyone that has a medical condition that the EMTs need to know is not only wear that information but also put it in your saddle bag, because I heard of a case where a MTBer crashed his bike and somehow in the course of the accident his medical id bracelet broke off, and since it broke off and not laying around in plain site the EMTs assumed he had no issues.

  3. Fall is thorn season and a good pair of EDC Tweezers makes pulling little sharps out of the tires much easier. I also have to remind myself to keep the hydration going when it’s cooler. Not something special I carry, just a good reminder. Finally, 6″ of duct tape (wrapped around a C02 bottle) helps sleeve road tires, secure things if cable ties break, cover blisters and cuts…..

  4. I carry a piece of tire with the bead cut off to use as a boot in case of a sidewall cut. On mountain bike rides I bring a small bottle of extra Stan’s & a tube.

    1. You can cut and use a peice of tube for a inner boot also and shave some grams to oz’s off weight, and having a heavier rubber boot on one section of tire can cause “hopping” at higher speeds, momentum distributon will be off and could cause you to use more effort to keep your bike at the same pace as it is rotational weight your adding.

  5. Update to my 2014 post. Since tire technology has improved significantly over the past 10 years I’ve decided not to carry my spare ultralight tire anymore, this decision was a difficult choice since it was a habit but I felt secure enough with the newer tires that destroying a tire would be extraordinary rare event, HOWEVER, when I go touring I still carry a spare tire for obvious reasons.

    1. GATOR skin hardshell road tires are pretty durable due to an extra stripping of a more durable rubber without adding more than a few grams of weight. MTB I would reccomend the Kenda line tires as the NevegalX which comes with a 30TPI casing and is very durable as I’ve been riding them on my MTB for 2+ years now without a single flat. Using a more durable cloth rim strip can help add durability in the inner/rim side of the tire also

      1. Gatorskins are a tough tire but not any more so than Specialized Armadillo All Condition tires, both feel like you’re riding on wood, both weigh more than the average tire does, but I think the Armadillo is actually a better tire in regards to wear and puncture resistance not only in the tread but it’s greatly better in the sidewalls, and it cost less.

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